State of Palestine
Palestine at a Glance
The Palestinian national consciousness, which began to form during Ottoman rule in the 1500s and significantly strengthened during the British mandate period post-WWI,has been the main factor responsible for the survival of the Palestinian people through the ages. As Palestine’s most recent colonizers, opposition to Israel has been the main mobilizing factor of Palestinian national identity, which has stretched over the past 60 years.
As victors ofthe Arab Israeli war of 1967, the Israeli government illegally occupied and retained the territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which were under a Jordanian mandate at the time, the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights belonging to Syria. East Jerusalem has since been annexed to Israel, a move that has been rejected by the international community, while the Palestinian inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank continue to live under a harsh military occupation that has lasted for over 40 years.
During this time, under the guise of security the Israeli government has managed to steal thousands of acres of Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank as part of its aggressive and internationally sanctioned strategy to expel as many Palestinians as possible from what many Jews perceive to be the Jewish biblical lands of Judea and Samaria.
|Prime Minister:||Salam Fayad, Ismail Haniya|
Other strategies used to control and expel Palestinians include the separation wall/fence, settlement building, political repression, deprivation of necessary resources such as water, divide and rule, economic dependency and misinformation.
The problem of Palestine has become a regional crisis that many international and regional players have attempted to resolve, however, due to a lack of will on the Israeli side to compromise for the sake of peace with Palestine and the rest of the Arab world, there has been no valuable movement in this regard.
Throughout the past 60 years, the Palestinians, at various times in their struggle against Zionist encroachment, have mounted both violent and non-violent resistance movements, the former of which has been used by the Israeli government to justify its heinous treatment of the Palestinians. The ascent of the Islamic militant group Hamas within the Palestinian political scene has significantly polarized the Palestinian populace, thus giving Israel a golden opportunity to push its “security” platform to the international community, particularly its American ally, whose vast sums of financial support have been a valuable asset of the Israeli occupation. In an environment increasingly hostile to Arab Muslims, Israel has had little opposition to its policies towards the Palestinians and in the region as a whole.
While the peace process remains at a standstill, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is gearing up for a UN General Assembly vote in September 2011 on its declaration of a state along the 1967 Green Line. While both Israel and America are opposed to such a unilateral action, they have yet to do anything that signals a real dedication to a resolution of the conflict through other means. At this time, it is still unclear as to what a victory for the PA would achieve with regard to negotiations with Israel, however, the mere fact that the PA has made such a controversial decision highlights the government’s commitment to appointed prime minister, Salam Fayyad’s ambitious and unilateral state-building program. A lasting reconciliation between Palestine’s main political parties, Hamas and Fatah, is an imperative step in this process.